After a dominating 4-0 performance by the Ottawa 67’s on Sunday, their first-round playoff series against the Mississauga Steelheads shifts to TD Place on Tuesday night.
Following Ottawa home this week will be a healthy dose of confidence after the 67’s knocked off the Steelheads in Game 2 to even the series at a game apiece. Sunday’s game had a little of everything and Ottawa wants to bottle that for their upcoming two home games.
Not only did the 67’s get standout goaltending from Leo Lazarev – who stood on his head for the 31-save shutout – they got a big contribution from another Russian-born player, forward Artur Tyanulin. This time, that contribution wasn’t on the scoresheet, though Tyanulin did chip in with an assist. Instead, the right winger’s biggest impact came courtesy of a massive, open-ice hit on Mississauga’s Owen Tippet.
“You expect him to score big goals for us, but that’s playoffs, guys go out and do things they might not normally,” said Head Coach and General Manager Jeff Brown. “He delivered the hit that turned the momentum in that game. It rattled them and we took advantage.
Tied 1-1 in their best-of-seven series, the 67’s are expecting the same caliber of play tomorrow night against the second-seeded Steelheads, perhaps even more intense. So despite the last game, the 67’s are careful not be overconfident.
“Mississauga was the best team in the East in the second half,” said Brown. “We should have confidence but at the same time we’ve got to play a bit scared. These guys aren’t going away.”
So far, Brown has been pleased with the way his youth-laden team has stepped up.
“It’s a different level in the playoffs,” he said. “For the 16-year-olds, it’s a first taste of it and the other team is coming in at 100 miles per hour. But our guys held their own.”
Offensively, the 67’s liked what they saw in Game 2 after a tough loss in the opening game. Tye Felhaber, Noel Hoefenmayer and Mathieu Foget all had three-point games in the win, and Ottawa will be hoping to ride their performances into their two-game home stretch.
Special teams also saw success for Ottawa on Sunday, with the 67’s going 2-5 on the powerplay while killing off both Mississauga man-advantages.
Following Tuesday’s game, the 67’s will return to the ice at the Arena at TD Place on Thursday evening for Game 4. Both games start at 7 p.m.
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